Summer vacation is coming to an end, and children will be returning to school next week. While that will likely have some parents breathing a welcome sigh of relief, it also means we all need to take extra care as we drive by schools, playgrounds and bus stops.
Remember, whether you’re in a school or park zone, the speed limit is 30 km/h. School zone speed limits are in effect between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and park zone speed limits are in effect from dawn to dusk. These slower speeds are important because they allow you more time to react should anything unexpected happen. This is always a possibility when children are walking or biking along the roadside, particularly when they get caught up in the back-to-school excitement.
Also remember, when you see a school bus stopped with its red lights flashing, it’s your job to stop too. You must stop whether you are approaching the front or rear of the bus. Don’t start going again, until the bus moves on, or the driver signals that it’s safe for you to proceed, by turning off the lights. (Some buses also have a stop sign that swings out from the side of the bus, to reinforce the message).
When you see a bus with flashing amber lights, slow down as the bus is preparing to stop or maybe stopped.
If you’re not sure where the parks and schools are along your route, keep an eye out for signs, school buses and other clues which indicate that children may be nearby.
Please be aware and drive carefully. For example, if your car doesn’t have daytime running lights, drive with your headlights on, so you can be seen more easily or leave a bit earlier for your commute so you won’t feel rushed.
By taking our time and driving with a little more caution, we can make the back-to-school transition safer and easier for everyone.